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ecosystems and biodiversity
Dr. Michael Miyittah
Research Theme Lead

Development Challenges

Numerous ecosystems exist along the coast and marine areas of West and Central Africa. Some of these ecosystems include wetlands, lagoons, estuaries, mangrove forests and dunes etc. These ecosystems provide critical services to support the survival of coastal communities. However, over utilization of coastal ecosystems as a result of rapid population increase and urbanisation over the years have affected their sustainability. Coastal resources have therefore become polluted, depleted and several species of fauna and flora are undergoing extinction. Options for the coastal ecosystems management and biodiversity conservation have become very limited because of increasing poverty. This research theme explores avenues of restoring and conserving coastal ecosystems and biodiversity in West and Central Africa sub-region.

Objectives

  • Assess coastal ecosystem types (i.e. coastal and marine), ecosystem services and biodiversity and the nexus between them
  • Assess the health of ecosystems in the West and Central Africa sub-region 
  • Evaluate pollution sources along the coast and its impacts to the physical and physiological condition of health to biodiversity 
  • Explore management options for degraded coastal and marine ecosystems
  • Explore opportunities for sustainable exploitation of coastal and marine resources 
  • Evaluate the status of implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in the West and Central Africa sub-region

Research Areas

  • Extent of pollution of coastal ecosystems
  • Diversity of fauna and flora of the coastal ecosystems
  • Conservation efforts by coastal communities directed at protecting coastal ecosystems
  • Nutrient cycles and pollution status of estuaries, lakes and rivers
  • Use of predictive tools for ecosystem future scenario analysis
  • Components of biodiversity within the coastal and marine ecosystems
  • The quantitative assessment and the linkages of ecosystem types, ecosystem services and biodiversity
  • Plastic pollution and its effects on flora and fauna in the coastal areas

Expected Outcomes

  • A comprehensive inventory of animal, plant and fungal species of various ecosystem types in the sub-region.
  • Improved management and protection of ecosystems.
  • In-depth knowledge on the strengths and weaknesses of various types of ecosystems in the sub-region

NB: The research projects outlined above are interrelated and will ultimately produce results that will feed into each other and present a broad direction for managing Coastal Degradation.

Research Topics